Important Hindu festivals of Tamil months - Chithirai, Vaikasi and Aani - 01

Meenashshi temple, Madurai, TN  temple zszywka.

That  devout Hindus never fail to follow the Tamil Calendar bear testimony to their deep-rooted faith and tradition, especially  in Tamil Nadu  where one can see the largest number of historical  Hindu temples dating back to more than 1000 years. Many of them were patronized by Chola, Pandya, Chera, Pallava and Nayak dynasties, besides other local  Hindu rulers called in Tamil  ''Kurunila Mannargal''. The Hindus of Tamil Nadu have a firm  belief in Astrology, the position of planets as per their   horoscope and their belief  is equally unshakable. A small percentage of the population sidelines  all these as myth and superstitions and these unpatriotic and unethical atheist elements get a bad rap for this state.

Sangaranthi/Pongal festival,

An interesting fact is  Hindu women, cutting across castes and creed in this state, are more religious and participate in religious activities with staunch  faith and positive energy. They do it with utter dedication for the welfare of the family to surmount the difficult periods midway.

 Religious festivals  offer them a chance to express their trust in almighty and indulge in spiritual activities.  Different communities following different traditions come together for a common cause relegating their social status, etc., to the back stage. Apart, such religious commitments promote integrity, social tolerance and faith in one's duty.   

India is a land of festival and   Tamil  Nadu is no exception  Almost every Tamil month there some kinds of religious activities, temple rituals or common festivities. Some Tamil  months  are auspicious and one or two  have less significance. 

Listed below are some important  religious  celebrations for each month. Dates are not not given as they may vary every year by a day or two.  Besides the  Gregorian  months are given in parenthesis.

The following are the important festivals according to the Tamil Calendar:   

01.  Chithirai (April -May):  

The very first beginning of the Tamil year. 'Varusha pirappu' or 'Puthandu'- the Tamil New Year is observed in every household in this state and on this day people  clean and decorate theirhome  and after head bath and prayer they, including children, wear new clothing and seek blessings from the elderly.

Tamil new year

Tamil  new year
On this day most of the people never fail to visit the near-by temple to offer prayer and seek God's blessing for a better year.  In Kerala, Malayalam new year day is  Vishu and in W. Bengal  and Assam  Bihu, It is commonly known as Vaisakhi or Baisakhi. in north indian states.
Chitra Pournami  (full Moon Day) festival, that falls in this month,  is dedicated to god Chitragupta, a Hindu demi-deity who is believed to record the good and bad deeds of men/women on earth for Yama, the Hindu god of the underworld.  On this day, devotees pray to  Chitragupta to forgive their sins. Many devotees bathe in rivers orsea or  other water bodies - symbolic of their sins being washed away. 
Taking part in Girivalam (walking barefoot clock-wise around the Arunachala hill) in Thiruvannamalai) and visiting temples or other holy places will help the devotees a lot. 

The famous  ''Chithirai Thiruvizha'' - Chithrai festival is cerebrated in Madurai  city. As the 64 Thiruvilayadal took place in Madurai, the city is also known as ‘Boologa Kailaayam’.


It is a 15 day  annual celebration that actually lasts for almost  one month. The first 15 days mark the  grand celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) and the celestial wedding of  of Lord Sundareswara (God Shiva).  The next 15 days focus on the celebrations of the Journey of Lord Azhagar (Sri. Vishnu) from  his near-by abode - Kallazhagar temple in Azhagar Kovil  close to Madurai city.  
After Meenakshi Thirukalyanam (the celestial wedding of Meenakshi), it is believed,  both Lord Sundareswarar and  Meenakshi ruled the Pandya Kingdom for a long time. The day after the wedding, the gods will be taken  out in  a procession  on a nicely- decorated wooden temple car around  the Masi Streets. This  Ther Thiruvizha /Chariot festival also draws lots of people to the city from near-by villages.

Azhagar (Sri Vishnu) comes to Madurai  and later gets into the river to bless the  cursed Mandooka rishi - saint. Lord's arrival to Madurai is a great annual event and is a famous one; these festivals are part and parcel of Madurai city's historical tradition.  The festival marks the beginning of the new financial year.

\02. Vaikaasi (May-June): 

Vaikaasi Visaakam is the most important day in this month. It is celebrated during Visakam Nakshatra. as the birthday of Lord Murugan who was brought up by Kathikai pengal (nymphs).  Lord Muruga was created by Shiva and adopted by Parvati to slay the powerful demon called ''Soorpadman''.  Hindus visit the temples dedicated to God Muruga (Karthikaya) for good health, prosperity, success in business, etc. The ten-day event-Brahmotsavam takes place to  appease Lord Murugan. 
In November Soorpadma Samharam is a great religious annual event taking place on the shores of Thiruchendur, TN and  is attended  by lakhs of devotees.    

03.  Aani (June- July)

 Aani (June- July):  Aani Thirumanjanam or Aani Uttaram for Lord Nataraja is the most sanctified day in this month.  It is believed  God Nataraja gives darshan to his true devotees on this particular day.   Aani Uthram is widely believed to be the day when Lord Shiva appeared before the holy Tamil Saivite Saint  Sri Manikkavachakar underneath a Kurundai tree to offer him upadesha (advice). Thus this day is considered significant to the many devotees of Lord Nataraja. At the famous Chidambaram temple, this one is one of six 'Kala Puja'  days offered during six seasons. It is to be borne in mind, here, the six season  of one earthly year is, in fact, considered as one full day for the heavenly beings (gods & goddesses). The  six periods  are namely the dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night.  The 3- hour Maha Puja will begin at 3 am in the morning to propitiate the lord.

One of the special abhishekams is the Ani Thirumanjanam, that is performed on the pradosha evening of the day of Uthiram star in the month of Aani (June-July); holy bath of the idol performed during the twilight period is considered highly auspicious.  Thus, this occasion is believed to be an  ideal time for offering prayers to Lord Nataraja.